For thousands of years mankind has struggled to do one thing. What am I talking about? I’m talking about preventing lawsuits, of course. So how do you do that? Well, there’s honestly no sure way. You could try using a trust, or specifically, a land trust.
Land trusts are trusts you can use to exclusively hold real estate titles. On their own, they don’t protect you from lawsuits, but can be a critical component of an asset protection plan. They are different from the typical trust because they don’t usually involve family. A land trust is great if you want to remain anonymous. This prevents lawsuits in one simple way. The logic is, if the “other side” doesn’t know you own the property, how can they sue you?
But if an attorney gets paid enough money, he or she will find you eventually. I should know–I’m an attorney who used to do exactly that. To protect yourself from a lawsuit you need an LLC. Or even better, a Series LLC. Whatever you do, don’t rely on insurance.
Despite what I said, a land trust does have numerous advantages. Let’s go over a couple of them below
Parts of a Land Trust: Grantor, Trustee, and Beneficiary Roles
A land trust has three parts. You have a grantor of the trust, a trustee, and a beneficiary. A trustee has control of the property and manages the trust itself.
The beneficiary is the person who receives all the benefits of the land trust. As in, all the income made from the land trust. In some circumstances you’ll have to disclose who the trustee of a land trust is. But let’s say you don’t want to let people know who the trustee is.
For that situation, you can use a nominee trustee. This is a person whose name appears on the trust document. He or she has specific powers which allow them to file tax returns on behalf of the trust. It is the nominee trustee’s responsibility to send the tax returns of the trust to the proper tax agency or for filing purposes of the deed(s).
Selling Property From A Land Trust
If someone is looking to actually alienate a property, sell it, or dispose of the trust asset they will want to look at the trust agreement before they buy an asset from a land trust. In that agreement they will see that the nominee trustee doesn’t have those powers. Which means you don’t have to worry about somebody “running away” with your property. The person who will have the power to sell assets of a trust will be stated in the trust agreement.
The best part is, this person can be you.
If you want to learn more about how land trusts can protect your real estate investments, contact us today. I’d be glad to answer any questions you have.